YC set for test in quarters
Tonight’s opponent, run-heavy Safford, ‘definitely a lot better’ than a 10 seed
When the 3A state playoff bracket came out, Yuma Catholic coach Rhett Stallworth noted that the Shamrocks’ draw “could be worse, could be better.”
A big reason it wasn’t perfect — the potential of a quarterfinal matchup with Safford, a run-heavy team that’s probably much better than its No. 10 seed would indicate.
That potential matchup is now a reality, as the Bulldogs (7-4 overall) will visit Ricky Gwynn Stadium tonight to face the No. 2 Shamrocks (9-2) for a right to a spot in next weekend’s 3A state semifinals.
YC, which has won five straight all by at least 29 points, is coming off a 49-20 first-round victory over No. 15 Show Low. Safford has won seven of its last eight, and last week blew out No. 7 Odyssey Institute 34-0 in the first round.
“They’ve played a lot of really good teams tough and close,” Stallworth said. “They had a couple of problems finishing those teams early on. They’re definitely
7 p.m. today, Ricky Gwynn Stad.
a lot better than a 10 seed.”
Safford’s losses have come by 15 points to 3A No. 3 Snowflake (Aug. 17), one point to 3A No. 8 Wickenburg (Aug. 31), eight points to 2A No. 1 Thatcher (Sept. 7) and three points to 3A No. 6 Sabino (Oct. 26).
Safford has totaled 3,080 yards on the ground in 11 games this season, with four players at 500 yards of rushing or more. Sophomore running back CJ Scrivner (132 car., 1,149 yards, 14 TD) and junior quarterback Jerick Arbizo (88 car., 753 yards, 9 TD) have done the most damage.
Arbizo was seldom used in the Bulldogs’ first three games of the season, which perhaps helps explain why all three were losses.
“The bottom line is they’ve gotten better because they’ve figured out what they’re better at,” Stallworth said, alluding to running the football with a combination of Scrivner and Arbizo.
Arbizo doesn’t throw often, as he’s completed just 13 of 31 passes this season for 272 yards and three touchdowns to four interceptions.
Stallworth said the Bulldogs run a lot of one-back looks, and operate out of unbalanced formations, but do have a good power-run game out of two-back formations.
“We’re going to have
YUMA CATHOLIC’S J.R. HENDERSON (12), Zach Hunter (6) and Isaac Torres (8) line up during last Friday night’s 3A state playoffs first-round game against No. 15 Show Low at Ricky Gwynn Stadium. The No. 2 Shamrocks host No. 10 Safford in the quarterfinals tonight.
(10) Safford at (2) YC